Friday 23 March 2012

Time Travel: Guyana To Commemorate The 75th Anniversary Of The Succession Of King Edward XIII - Yes Really!

There's usually something interesting to see on the monthly list of new issues produced by a New York based philatelic agency which among its outpourings of stamps issues there is usually some poorly researched design or item of such ridiculous irrelevance to the country whose name is placed on the stamps - for instance - a hot Caribbean island depicting Antarctic wildlife or an Indian Ocean coral island which barely rises above sea water issuing stamps to commemorate the Year Of Mountains (both of these have happened). Sometimes the design errors are funny but this month's is hilarious. The agency website is currently advertising a sheetlet of 3 stamps and 1 miniature sheet to be issued by Guyana which commemorate the 75th anniversary of the succession to the British throne of King Edward XIII - that's right, King Edward the Thirteenth (!). Presumably then this is either a set which is to be issued hundreds of years in the future and has travelled through time to be with us today or the designer can not tell the difference between the Roman numerals for five and ten. I suspect the latter since the picture of the monarch on the stamps looks remarkably like King Edward VIII, uncle of the present queen, who reigned for less than twelve months before abdicating to marry his mistress, the divorced Mrs. Simpson, who could never have been accepted as Queen of The United Kingdom. I wonder if these stamps will actually be issued with the current design error. I do hope so since it is a perfect illustration of how much cynicism is involved in the production of modern stamp issues so that those who do bring them to the market can not even be bothered to correctly incorporate something as basic as the correct Roman numerals on a stamp. As long as collectors are paying good money, why bother to give them a quality product? Actually, I might even be tempted to buy these items myself since they must represent one of the worst design errors in the history of philately. Sadly, they do not do much for the national reputation of Guyana which will forever be be known as the country that can't tell the difference between the numbers 8 and 13.
In response to the previous blog, a question was asked as to whether other stamps which incorporated holograms have been issued in the past. The answer is yes, and quite a lot. One such stamp that comes to mind is the 65p value of the set issued by the British post office on 2 October 2001 which commemorated the centenary of the Noble Prizes. The particular value was dedicated to the prize for physics and the hologram shows what I think must be an atom with electrons orbiting (if that's the right word) a nucleus. The hologram reproduces quite well on the scan included below.
This was one of the British post office's sillier sets since it set out to use a different printing method for each of the six values and we ended up with among other things a stamp, which if you rubbed it, gave off the smell of menthol (the prize for medicine (!) - how tentative is that connection?) and another stamp, the European rate value, "E", which was almost entirely white apart from a smear of green, and ostensibly depicted a dove (representing the peace prize) carrying an olive twig in its beak, the design being produced by embossing which really failed to make the design at all clear or understandable.
Sometimes you just wonder if there is anyone sane who is involved in modern stamp production. Maybe you can ask the same question about those who collect them!

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